Hello, dear readers! As someone who lives in China and has a keen interest in mysticism, I’ve decided to embark on an exciting new series. In this series, I will translate or narrate urban legends circulating on the Chinese internet. If you’re intrigued by the mysterious and the unexplained, make sure to follow along. This is the first installment of the series. Stay tuned for more tales from the shadowy corners of the web!

In the shadowy corners of the internet, where urban legends and ghost stories intertwine, there’s one tale that has captured the imagination of many—a tale so chilling it has rattled the staunchest skeptics. This story, which I stumbled upon while scrolling through the Tianya Forum, a popular online discussion board in China, revolves around what’s come to be known as the Chongqing Moving Ghost Incident. It’s a story that has been told and retold, but the account I’m about to share might just be the most comprehensive retelling of them all.

The protagonist of this eerie tale is a self-proclaimed atheist and retired soldier who, after serving in the rescue operations following the devastating 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, settled down in Chongqing. Known on the forum as “An Innocent Person,” he shared how an encounter turned his solid disbelief in the supernatural on its head. His narrative wasn’t just compelling because of the detailed account but also because of the accompanying photos that seemed to defy any rational explanation.

Let me bring you into the story with a more personal touch, narrating from the perspective of “Lao Gu,” a name we’ll use for our protagonist, to make this tale more relatable.

Lao Gu and his wife had rented a three-bedroom apartment in Chongqing. One unsettling day, his wife confided in him, trembling with fear, “Honey, I think I was pressed down in bed by a ‘little cutie’—a term sometimes used to describe playful spirits or minor ghosts in Chinese culture. There’s something unclean about this place.” Despite her distress, Lao Gu, ever the skeptic, brushed off her concerns, suggesting she was merely experiencing sleep paralysis. He comforted her with a hug, trying to dispel her fears with his disbelief.

But three days later, the unsettling became undeniable. As Lao Gu was engrossed in a late-night European Cup soccer match in the living room, a blood-curdling scream from their bedroom pierced the night. Rushing to his wife’s side, he found her in tears, terror-stricken. She claimed a figure had emerged from the bedroom wall—a girl in an ancient school uniform, who hauntingly asked, “May I come in?” Despite the vividness of her terror, Lao Gu could only conclude that the stress was playing tricks on her mind. He reassured her, “It was just a dream,” as he tried to soothe her shaking form with a gentle massage.

The next day, still rattled by the spectral visitation, Lao Gu’s wife delved into internet research on how to deal with ‘little cuties,’ the playful spirits she suspected were haunting their home. Lao Gu found her efforts amusing, if not a bit silly. However, as events unfolded, the joke soon turned on him. With no soccer game to keep him up, Lao Gu went to bed early, only to wake in the middle of the night, gasping for air and paralyzed, unable to move. Opening his eyes, he saw two girls standing by his bed, their hair lengths differing, exactly as his wife had described: young students dressed in antiquated uniforms. One of the girls spoke, asking for directions to Xin Cheng, sending chills down Lao Gu’s spine. How could strangers suddenly appear in his home, asking for directions? Connecting this encounter to his wife’s experiences, he realized they were indeed dealing with ‘little cuties.’

In a blink, the girls vanished, leaving Lao Gu to sit up in a mix of fear and confusion, pondering if it was a dream or reality, as the clock struck 3 AM with the sky still dark. His wife, waking at this moment, inquired about his well-being, prompting Lao Gu to share the night’s eerie events. Immediately, they consulted her mother, a devout woman accustomed to offering prayers and incense to the gods. She sought the help of a master, who provided talismans to affix to their door for protection. However, these talismans mysteriously burned, exacerbating their troubles. Seeking advice from the master again, they were met with uncertainty, hinting that the situation might be beyond his control, leaving Lao Gu to feel scammed.

Determined to find a solution, they ventured to Chongqing’s most revered temple, Laojun Cave, after lunch. Drawing a lot that indicated supreme luck, they consulted a more experienced master. This master reassured them, attributing the disturbances to a temporary dip in fortune rather than a haunting.

After their visit to the temple, Lao Gu felt considerably more at peace, especially after the reassuring words from the experienced master. However, just before they were about to leave, Lao Gu noticed the master’s gaze lingering on him. Curiosity piqued, he approached the master for a chat. The master, upon hearing Lao Gu’s troubling experiences, introduced him to a disciple, a younger master who might have more insight into their peculiar situation.

The younger master listened intently to their story and suggested that the disturbances might be the result of their apartment being inhabited by restless spirits they had unwittingly disturbed. To help, he provided them with two scripture books to recite: one to pacify the land’s spirits and another to invoke protective light. He specifically instructed that if they were to experience the sensation of being pressed down in bed by a ‘little cutie’ again, they should loudly recite a chant to summon the divine protection of the Thunder God.

Following this, the young master visited Lao Gu’s home, where he performed a cleansing ritual involving sprinkling water over them, and provided them with a fan, a gourd, and three talismans. He placed the gourd and fan together and affixed the talismans to their door. That night, they slept undisturbed, without any visitations from the ‘little cuties.’

However, the calm was short-lived. By 11 PM the next night, one of the talismans had mysteriously disappeared. Lao Gu, recalling the previous incident with the burned talismans, climbed up to check but found no sign of burning or ash. To his astonishment, the missing talisman was now stuck behind the door, a placement neither he nor his wife had done. Moreover, there were no signs of adhesive, yet it was firmly attached to the door. Baffled and concerned, Lao Gu didn’t hesitate to call the young master, regardless of the late hour. Upon hearing the situation, the young master instructed them to burn the displaced talisman immediately and arranged to meet them the following noon.

This segment of the story not only deepens the mystery but also introduces elements of traditional Chinese spiritual practices. The use of talismans, chants, and protective items like fans and gourds are common in folk religions and Taoism, intended to ward off evil spirits and bring harmony to the living space. These practices reflect a deep-rooted cultural approach to the supernatural, blending respect for the unseen with rituals that have been passed down through generations. For readers unfamiliar with these customs, it’s a fascinating glimpse into how the spiritual and the everyday coexist in Chinese culture, where ancient traditions still find their place in modern life.

The following noon, the young master arrived at Lao Gu’s apartment armed with an array of spiritual tools, immediately sensing a heavy presence of yin energy—indicative of a strong supernatural presence. He wielded a peach wood sword, tapping along the walls of the apartment, an act designed to disturb and reveal any hidden spirits. Reassuringly, he mentioned to Lao Gu that the entities they were dealing with were not malevolent. He then proceeded with a ritual involving cinnabar ink and incense. Entering the bedroom to recite sacred texts, a sudden outcry from him alarmed everyone. Rushing to check, they discovered that of the three sticks of incense lit, two had mysteriously shortened—a bad omen often interpreted as “three long, two short,” implying imminent danger or death, and all had been extinguished.

The young master gravely informed them that this signified the spirits no longer wished to negotiate; they were after their lives. In a dramatic turn, while attempting to summon the spirits into a mirror for containment, the mirror shattered, spraying the room with glass—a sign of a powerful and resistant presence. Resorting to what he described as his last option, he began drawing a potent talisman, explaining its strong suppressive powers. He instructed them to spread salt and rice in the bedroom—a common practice in Chinese exorcisms to purify and protect against evil spirits—and then wait in the living room.

As they sat in silence, the unmistakable sound of rice grains being disturbed could be heard from the bedroom. After a period equivalent to the burning time of an incense stick, Lao Gu and the young master bravely opened the bedroom door, only to find the talisman crumpled in a corner, its protective powers seemingly nullified. Lao Gu, anxious for a solution, repeatedly questioned the young master, who stood in stunned silence before declaring he would have to use his final technique, after which they should no longer contact him.

Following the failure of all previous attempts to cleanse their home, the young master prepared for a final, desperate measure. He instructed Lao Gu and his wife to kneel at the apartment’s entrance, mirroring his actions. Together, they kowtowed, an act of deep respect or pleading in Chinese culture, while the young master apologized to the spirits, begging for forgiveness before abruptly running out of the apartment, urging Lao Gu and his wife to follow him without looking back. The three of them dashed out of the building, escaping an unseen, malevolent force that even the young master admitted was beyond his ability to contend with. He advised Lao Gu to lay low for a while, hinting that the spirits had taken a dangerous interest in him.

In a panic, with only their phones and keys on them, Lao Gu and his wife sought temporary refuge in a downtown hotel, hoping to find safety and a moment’s peace. Despite the change of location, their night was far from peaceful; the ‘little cuties’ haunted them still, pressing down on them as they slept.

The story took an even more surreal turn when Lao Gu, hearing a nebulous voice calling his name, forced his eyes open only to find himself not in the hotel room but amidst the ruins of what seemed a nightmarish wasteland. Before him stood three figures, including the familiar girl in the ancient school uniform, now joined by a blurred, indistinct figure. This moment of terror made it clear to Lao Gu: the spirits had not just haunted their apartment but had latched onto him, following them to their temporary haven.

In the dead of night, Lao Gu’s wife, shaken with fear, woke him to reveal that they were once again oppressed by the eerie presence of the ‘little cuties,’ leaving them too terrified to sleep for the remainder of the night. In search of relief and perhaps a final solution to their haunting ordeal, they decided to seek spiritual refuge far from the familiar confines of their urban life. Guided by the advice of a friend, they set their sights on Tibet, a place known for its deep Buddhist spiritual practices, hoping to find solace and protection.

Their journey westward was marked by a brief stop in Chengdu on July 17, where the haunting persisted, manifesting through the same oppressive dreams of ruin and ghostly figures. Lao Gu found himself back in the hotel in Chongqing within his nightmare, a chilling loop that seemed to pull him between reality and dreams within dreams.

The following day, desperate for answers, Lao Gu consulted another master, sharing a photo of himself in a distraught state. The master’s questions led to a startling discovery: upon zooming into the photo, Lao Gu saw a figure in white reflected in his pupils, a haunting confirmation that the malevolent spirit was not just near but possibly within him.

Continuing their pilgrimage to Tibet on July 19, Lao Gu maintained a routine of sending photos to friends as a way to check in safely. In one such photo, a friend noticed a sinister red face reflected in the television screen, adding another layer of terror to their journey.

Upon reaching Tibet, their hopes for peace remained unfulfilled, with the ‘little cuties’ still pressing down on them and nightmares plaguing their sleep. The spiritual journey to Tibet, a land revered for its profound Buddhist teachings and practices, was seen as a beacon of hope for many seeking healing and protection from various forms of suffering, including spiritual disturbances. However, Lao Gu’s experience highlights the persistent and pervasive nature of certain hauntings, challenging the limits of spiritual remedies and the battle against unseen forces.

In their relentless search for a resolution to the haunting that had upended their lives, Lao Gu and his wife ventured further into the heart of the Tibetan Plateau, guided by a recommendation from Lao Gu’s comrade from the special forces. Their journey led them to a resplendent golden temple, home to a centenarian Living Buddha, a highly revered figure in Tibetan Buddhism.

Upon their arrival, they were awestruck by the temple’s splendor and the presence of the Living Buddha, who, despite his spiritual prowess, admitted his inability to resolve their supernatural dilemma. However, in a gesture of compassion, he offered them a short knife, an artifact of significant spiritual power passed down from previous generations of Living Buddhas, associated with the Vajrayana (Tibetan Buddhist) tradition. Lao Gu, initially skeptical of the gift’s intentions, was reassured that it was not for sale but a token of protection, leaving him contemplating a generous donation in gratitude.

This encounter underscores the deeply rooted belief in the power of sacred objects and the spiritual authority of Living Buddhas within Tibetan culture. The knife, imbued with centuries of ritual significance, represents a tangible connection to a lineage of spiritual guardianship, offering not just protection but a link to the profound spiritual heritage of Tibetan Buddhism.

Continuing their quest, Lao Gu and his wife found themselves in Yinchuan, where another master attempted to assist them. This master revealed the names and dates of the spirits haunting them, suggesting a history that tied them to a Taoist exorcism gone awry. Despite his efforts, the master admitted his limitations, proposing to contain the spirits within a gourd, a traditional method of trapping malevolent entities in Chinese folklore.

This narrative weaves through the intersections of cultural spirituality, from the grandeur of Tibetan Buddhism to the earthy, mystical practices of Chinese Taoism, highlighting the diverse and rich spiritual landscape of China. For Lao Gu and his wife, their journey is not just a fight against malevolent spirits but a pilgrimage through a tapestry of belief systems, each offering its own form of solace and protection against the unseen forces that have intruded into their lives. The story, thus, becomes a testament to the enduring search for peace and safety in a world where the spiritual and the corporeal intertwine in complex and mysterious ways.

In an unsettling turn of events, Lao Gu experienced something far beyond the ordinary during his stay with the Yinchuan master. He woke to discover his hair had been mysteriously pulled out overnight, leaving bald patches and painful sores. This alarming physical manifestation of the haunting forced them to return to Chongqing for medical treatment, all the while continuing their search for someone who could finally resolve their supernatural dilemma.

Their quest led them to Guizhou, rumored to be home to a formidable master, a former disciple of the chief priest from the revered Dragon Tiger Mountain—a place steeped in Taoist mysticism and spiritual practices. This master, now in his eighties, instructed Lao Gu to purchase a gourd and draw upon it freely, an act that might seem mundane but held deep spiritual significance.

The ceremony that followed was nothing short of miraculous; the gourd, animated without any visible force, moved on its own, a phenomenon Lao Gu captured on video. This gourd was revealed not to contain the spirits of the two girls who had been haunting them but the spirit of a third entity, a Daoist priest who had transformed posthumously into what was referred to as a ‘little cutie.’ This spirit was not merely a restless soul but one who had practiced both in the yang (the living world) and the yin (the spirit world), achieving a rare and powerful state of existence. The master explained that this Daoist’s intentions were to ensnare and control them, a plan thwarted by the couple’s strong life force.

This revelation shed light on the complexity of their situation, highlighting a unique and challenging case of spiritual entanglement. The master’s explanation pointed to the intertwined fates and karmic debts that bound them to this Daoist spirit, a situation too rare and intricate for most to resolve. It wasn’t a matter of insufficient ability on the part of the various masters they had consulted but the exceptional nature of their haunting.

As their journey through the spiritual maelstrom reached its final phase, Lao Gu was tasked by the master with a crucial responsibility: to reside near the gourd for 49 days, ensuring the incense burned continuously, a practice deeply rooted in Chinese spiritual customs to maintain protection and purification. During this period, the master facilitated the transcendence of the two innocent girls’ spirits, guiding them towards peace.

It was during these moments of quiet vigil that Lao Gu experienced a profound realization. The enigmatic question posed by the ‘little cuties’ in his dreams—asking the way to the stars—was, in fact, a veiled plea for him to seek out this very master in what was once known as the new city. This revelation underscored the mysterious ways in which the spiritual realm communicates, guiding him towards resolution and peace.

After the 49-day vigil, the master asked for no payment, only expressing a final wish for Lao Gu to look after his grandson in Chongqing upon his passing—a simple request that Lao Gu readily accepted, grateful for the resolution of his haunting ordeal without further supernatural disturbances. Reflecting on the entire experience, Lao Gu recognized the true nature of help does not demand exorbitant fees or sacrifices but is offered with genuine intent to aid and heal.

The story of Lao Gu’s harrowing journey through the complexities of Chinese spiritual practices concludes not just with the cessation of his supernatural troubles but with a life lesson about the value of genuine assistance over monetary exploitation. It’s a tale that traverses the realms of the mysterious and the sacred, concluding with a reminder that the most profound forms of help often come with the simplest of requests.

So, to my readers, this narrative serves as both a chilling account of a brush with the supernatural and a reflection on the essence of true aid and spiritual integrity. If you have stories of your own or themes you’d like me to explore, feel free to share in the comments. Until our next eerie adventure, keep an open mind, but tread cautiously in the realm of the unknown.